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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockMiranda Lambert and Chris Young both got their first national TV exposure competing on which singing competition? ANSWER: Nashville Star.

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Scotty McCreery Digging Deeper into His Country Roots on Next Studio Album

Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleScotty McCreery first got the nation's attention trying out for American Idol with Josh Turner's decidedly country hit, "Your Man." Since winning Idol in 2011, Scotty has blended his love of classic country with the current pop-influenced sounds of today to produce hits like "See You Tonight." That's all changing with his next album, though.

Scotty tells Rolling Stone, "I'm going to make a country music record. That's what I had to try to convey to the label, and they were all for it. The stuff I grew up with was that kind of music — I want to have some depth and portray a different side."

Scotty will be writing a lot more on his new album, which he expects to release later this year.

"I love songwriting," he says. "It's a way to explore what's going on upstairs."

Look for Scotty's next single to be the lead release from the new album.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKenny Rogers will reunite with the original members of The First Edition for a panel discussion at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville Saturday, January 17. The program is being presented in conjunction with Kenny's current Hall of Fame exhibit, Kenny Rogers: Though the Years.

Zac Brown Band will debut their new single, "Homegrown," on ESPN's College Football Playoff Championship Tailgate on Monday, January 12.

According to Billboard, Luke Bryan's name was the most-searched subject of 2014 on Ticketmaster's website.

Singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc will join Lady Antebellum for a special performance on the CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party Live from the College Football Playoff National Championship special. The show premieres Friday night at 9 ET on CMT.

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Tim McGraw Loves Seeing Keith Urban Represent Country Music on “American Idol”

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw has served as country music's ambassador to the mainstream many times through his work in movies or performances on multi-genre TV shows. So, Tim's endorsement of his "Highway Don't Care" collaborator Keith Urban as a judge on American Idol carries some real weight.

"He’s one of my favorite people," Tim says of his pal Keith. "He's a really good guy, and as far as somebody who represents country music and the face of somebody, and the music of somebody that you would want out there representin’ what you do, he’s certainly somebody that I would want to hold up and put a light on, for us.”

Look for Keith to return to American Idol Wednesday night at 8 ET on Fox.

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